DRIP IRRIGATION FOR APPLE TREES

Classification of the species and cultivation

The apple tree (Malus domestica) is a tree species belonging to the Rosaceae family and the genus Malus. The main producing countries are China, the United States, Turkey, Russia, France, Italy and Germany.

In Italy, the apple tree is grown mainly in the northern regions (Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Piedmont), and more recently also in Emilia-Romagna and Campania. Its wide geographical spread makes the apple tree one of the most cultivated fruit species in the world. The fruit is intended for both fresh consumption and industrial processing.

The apple tree is characterized by an erect, expanded or pendulous bearing depending on the variety grown and the rootstock used. In modern apple  cultivation, the current trend is to create continuous walls of vegetation with the lowest possible height in order to simplify cultivation operations.

The intensification of planting often involves rootstocks which reduce the tree’s vigour, induce an earlier entry into production and allow high yields per hectare  to be obtained as early as the second year after planting.

The fruiting cycle of the apple tree is biennial: during the development of that year’s fruit, the induction and differentiation processes responsible for the following year’s production also take place; after the winter lull, these processes resume the following spring.

Almost all apple cultivars are self-incompatible, and it is therefore necessary to provide for the use of several mutually compatible and contemporary flowering cultivars in the plantings.

Pedoclimatic requirements

The apple tree has a wide adaptability from a pedoclimatic point of view: it can be grown from sea level up to 1000 m above sea level.

The best conditions for cultivation are found in cold weather areas, which are ideal for meeting cold requirements, generally between 800 and 1600 hours. It withstands low winter temperatures down to -20°C or -25°C.

Temperature excursions between day and night within 10-15 degrees during the ripening of the fruit promote colouring, organoleptic characteristics and improved shelf life.

The apple tree prefers fresh, deep, permeable soils of good fertility; it rejects compact and impermeable soils. It can withstand up to 15% active limestone provided the soil is well drained.

Water in the soil and moisture in the environment cause scab and russeting of the skin.

Climate-controlled watering

The apple tree is a demanding species in terms of water: one hectare of apple orchard, between sprouting and phylloptosis requires an irrigation volume varying from 2000 to about 6000 m3.

The highest water consumption is between mid-June and early September; it is essential not to stress the plant during the phases offlowering and post-flowering, fruit setting and fruit enlargement.

Proper water and nutritional intake improves the size of the fruit, makes the skin more elastic and less sensitive to russet, enhances the organoleptic characteristics and favours processes related to the reproductive sub-cycle, stabilising production throughout the years

Irrigation and fertigation system

Drip irrigation is a highly efficient system for the water management of the apple orchard; Irritec’s solutions make it possible to always be timely and efficient in the water-nutritional management of the plant, thus mitigating the risks associated with unfavourable seasonality.

It is important to install the irrigation system as soon as the plants are planted. This ensures optimal attachment and regular development of both the root system and the aerial part with early entry into production.

The wide range of Irritec solutions allows irrigation systems to be built even in areas with complex terrain and land with problems of low or excessive water retention. In espalier systems, the dripline is positioned at the lowest wire by means of appropriate support hooks that also perform the function of a dripline
breaker.

Drip point spacing and hourly flow rate are chosen according to the planting layout and the farm’s water availability. For the drip irrigation of apple trees, Irritec suggests its normal (Junior or Tandem) or self-compensating (Multibar F or Multibar C) driplines, accompanied by an efficient primary and secondary filtration system.

To enhance the functionality of the drip system, a fertigation system suitable for the open field, such as Dosabox Junior Automatic, a device that is capable of dosing fertilisers proportionally to the water flow rate (requires a volumetric meter with pulse emitter on the main pipe), or in a volumetric manner, is recommended (dosing of one volume of fertiliser per hour).

apple trees irrigation

A practical example of how to drip irrigate lemon trees:

apple trees irrigation system example

Here are the Irritec products you need to drip irrigate lemon trees

1

Multibar™C – Medium/long range irrigators

The classic dripline with a pressure compensating cylindrical drip head is the ideal solution for irrigating multi-season crops, and is also suitable for sloping terrain and uneven topography. The wide range of medium and long range sprinklers is ideal for applications in the open field, orchards and greenhouses, both above and below the canopy. Available in both circular and sectoral versions, they are made from plastic or metal with high-quality materials; resistant to UV, fertilisers typically used in agriculture and adverse climatic conditions.

multibar-irrigatori-apple

2

TUBING IN PE AND CONNECTO

The Connecto™ line of compression fittings for the conveying pressurised fluids, particularly suitable for irrigation and gardening systems, is characterised by its great speed and ease of assembly.

pipes and connect irritec for apple trees

3

FILTERS

Irritec® filters provide the best filter protection for every irrigation system. The simple and safe structure, the result of precise construction technology, reduces maintenance to a minimum. Resistant to pressure fluctuations and external stress, the filters feature robust and flexible filter elements. Hydraulic tightness is ensured even at high pressures and the filter elements guarantee maximum filtration efficiency. The variety of filtration degrees available (from 20 to 450 mesh) can meet all filtering needs.

filters for apple trees irrigation

4

FERTIGATION

Irritec® fertigation systems combine practicality and reliability with a modern nutrient injection system. Fertiliser management is regulated by simple fertigation recipes that can be set according to agronomic and nutritional requirements. Proper water management, which is essential for delivering the right nutrition to the plants, is ensured by years of experience in sizing machines and equipment and the use of reliable and certified materials.

fertigation system for apple trees irrigation

5

DRIPLINE FITTINGS AND BRANCHES

Irritec® low pressure fittings and valves are the ideal solution for agricultural and residential irrigation systems. The products have a wide scope of application and are characterised by their ease of installation and assembly. Made from plastics, this product family includes: economical couplings, hose fittings, PE-PVC – LayFlat tubing branches, tape and light drip line fittings, classic dripline fittings, cylinder valves, mini ball valves, ball valves, hydrants, pressure regulators, air vents, threaded fittings and spiral pipe fittings.

DRIPLINE FITTINGS AND BRANCHES APPLE TREE

Discover how to irrigate others crops

Irritec wants to make life easier for those who take care of the plants, for work and for passion. We aim to ensure that every drop is spent as well as possible, minimizing the ecological footprint.

Agronomic Irritec Team support the farmer also on after-sale and installation, with continuous assistance and efficiency control. Continuous attention to the customer needs to provide succesful and sustainable solution with an efficience service.